A comment in the last post noted that last year Heat, using a tightly controlled rotation was successful while this season Dynasty, using something closer to two separate lines, has also been successful and was curious as to what I thought--and if I had any preferences when it came to how to work your roster in competition.
As it happens I do. But first I want to be clear that what follows applies to the pro game only. This is because the other variants of Race To demand a different set of priorities due to the duration of the matches. Only 5 or 4 points respectively. So right away we see one primary consideration; limitation by format. (And one of the reasons I was consistently opposed over the years to the changes away from Xball up to and including the move from Race To 9 to 7. And why I think there may be some merit in the idea of dropping the 'race to' element from the pro game and just play the clock.) Either more time or fewer restrictions allow for greater roster flexibility.
Let's return though for a moment to the original hypothesis about Heat and Dynasty. It's important to have an accurate view of our working premise so we don't build error on top of error. While Heat did not use only 5 players last year, they did routinely use a group of 5 between 72% - 61% of the time. Say approx. 2 out of every 3 points played and that pattern refined itself over the course of that season. In fact, it carried over to the first two events of 2013 as well with the exception of the reps (spins?) (Really, when did that expression enter the paintball lexicon and goofy SoCal activity was it ripped off from?) Dizon got filling in for injured players. Given the data I think it's fair to say the Heat have chosen to focus on a tight roster and a minimal rotation of players--at least up to Chicago where the addition of Jacob Edwards and injury to Dizon clearly had an impact.
Since all the same data was available for all the pro teams in 2012 I also looked them all over to compare general roster patterns with Heat's example and found a few interesting factoids. Two teams ran tighter rosters than Heat; Upton 187 & CEP. Neither managed anything like similar results and both were 10- [minus] teams. (One other thing I looked for was roster consistency and a team rated 10- did not have the same 10 players rostered for a minimum of 75% of the team's points played over the season. All that means is there was some player turnover on some teams during the season. But that's the sort of scenario that would likely impact roster usage and team tendencies.) The next three teams last season most likely to run a tight roster were Thunder, X-Factor and Vicious though in the case of the later two teams it was a rotation of 4 players, not 5 with Thunder and X-Factor being 10- teams. Followed by Damage, Ironmen & Infamous. Now before you go and assume too much about these later teams on the list the numbers suggest that all the pro teams last year except two played their first five players within a similar percentage range. The point of divergence is how the remaining reps are apportioned amongst the remaining players. If one or two additional players got the lion's share of the leftover reps the roster was tighter and if the leftover reps were spread more evenly among the remaining players on a roster the looser. In any case there were more similarities than I expected across the board.
Of the two teams unmentioned so far, Dynasty and Russian Legion, Dynasty falls closer to the main group of teams while the Legion ran closest to using two lines. Player preference on Dynasty began at a lower baseline and filled in a much narrower range but there was still a clear demarcation of playing percentages given that Dynasty was a 10- team. Legion played their top line around 57% of the top and their other line around 43% though to make that distinction is probably not completely accurate as players were still moved around some.
The available data on Dynasty for 2013 shows not a strict two line operation but a purposeful use of the whole roster with Ryan, Alex and Dalton getting the most reps and everyone else fitted in perhaps by play call or effectiveness at the time. It is also consistent with what the team was doing last season if perhaps more controlled this year. So while there are no true two line teams competing in Champions Dynasty comes closest right now.
More next time in what has turned into at least a two-parter.